Restaurant workers, already living “tip to mouth,” face more hardship in shutdown
I do not own the copyright to this excellent well polished Docuvideo about the desperately poor restaurant servers who depend entirely on the tips and largesse of their customers rather than their employers.The copyright is owned by CBSN who generously made this enlightening production available to the public of a fee/subscription, though not in the public domain They consistently offer quality investigatory journalism, an increasingly rare occurrence in mainstream journalism. Viewers who appreciate as much will be well served by subscribing to the CBSN channel. I rate this production as excellent in pacing, video quality, interviewer manner, and an intimate gritty street level familiarity adding to its 100% realism. There is nothing staged in this production. It is REAL news.This video is about the daily grind and desperation of restaurant workers in 17 states that allow them to be paid as little as $2.13/hr. These employees and their families literally eat or go hungry depending on the tips they receive…or not, even having to pay out of their own pockets for the meals of some customers who leave no tip at all.
Restaurant servers who rely on customers’ tips to make ends meet have seen their livelihoods vanish virtually overnight. The restaurant industry is reeling from the financial impact of coronavirus shutdowns, and so are the workers who kept it running.
John deBary, the co-founder of Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, is concerned for the estimated 13.5 million restaurant workers nationwide affected by coronavirus closures. “On a good day, about 40% of restaurant workerslive in poverty. That number is about to go way higher, and even the ones that don’t live in poverty are really living on the edge,” he said.
For some, those tough financial straits have roots in the separate, lower federal minimum wage for tip-earning employees. Since 1991, the federal minimum wage for tipped wage earners has been frozen at $2.13 per hour, compared to $7.25 for other workers. Federal law requires restaurants to ensure all employees receive the full minimum wage and make up the difference when tips fall short, but it’s been challenging to enforce. Between 2010 to 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor investigated over 9,000 restaurants and found 84% violated wage and hour laws.
Saru Jayaraman, director of the Food and Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, described food servers — waiters and waitresses — as living “tip to mouth.” “Literally the tips you get that night, you’re using to feed your kids the next day. If you can’t go back and get more tips, you’re done. It’s overwhelming,” she said.
The restaurant industry “is always on every list of the top fastest-growing industries in America, yet it continues to be the absolute lowest-paying employer in the United States,” Jayaraman added. The U.S. Department of Labor puts out data on occupational employment and wage estimates, and “the seven lowest [median wage earners] are all in one industry, in the restaurant industry,” she explained. Some states and cities have taken action and raised their minimum wage above the federal minimum, but only eight states require paying tipped wage earners the regular minimum wage. A report released by the Economic Policy Institute found states with a higher tipped minimum wage had much lower poverty rates for tipped workers.
DeBary was fortunate to bartend in high-end bars and restaurants in New York City, but has seen the economic fragility of his community even before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Restaurant workers, he said, “are one or two bad days away from a financial catastrophe, and most of them don’t have health insurance benefits from their employer [or] any kind of sick leave.”
Nikki Books, a single mother, was working as a waitress in Kokomo, Indiana, before the birth of her son caused health complications. Even when she was healthy and working, Books was barely making enough to survive as a waitress in a national chain restaurant and sought out ways to supplement her income.
“I used to donate plasma, but I’ve had surgeries in the past six months, so I can’t donate plasma anymore,” she said. Books and her infant son were able to enroll in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), a state health coverage program for those ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare. Still, she’s unable to apply for sick leave because she wasn’t clocking in full-time hours as a food server. She doesn’t qualify for disability benefits either, as her health condition is classified as reversible.
DeBary said the structural issues of the restaurant industry are becoming acutely apparent and impossible to ignore. “Since restaurants work on such thin [profit] margins, they want to keep hours as low as possible” for the workers, he said. He acknowledged that small, independent restaurants and larger corporate groups face different issues, but doesn’t think solutions can rely on individual businesses just deciding to do the right thing. “It really does require a legislative response,” he said.
On March 18, with the nation facing widespread layoffs and business closures, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law. It provides funds to expand paid sick leave and unemployment benefits. Still, under normal circumstances, nearly a quarter of U.S. workers don’t have access to paid sick leave, including most food servers.
Even for those with access to such benefits, Jayaraman warned, “Paid sick leave is, in most states, at maximum three to nine days. It’s not going to last us through this crisis.” And the expansion of unemployment benefits also may not be enough. Jayaraman explained food servers, bartenders and others earning a tipped minimum wage have their unemployment benefits based on a sub-minimum wage plus a rough and often inaccurate calculation of their tips.
“In a functional society, if something like this happens and you have to lay off people, you need a safety net like unemployment insurance. But when unemployment insurance is based on a $2.13 wage, it screams at why we should have ever had a $2.13 wage to begin with,” she said.
When Nikki Books was asked about unemployment benefits, she replied, “Even if I got it, it wouldn’t be much because servers’ wages are so low.” Books is surviving off modest but rapidly dwindling savings and has maxed out her credit cards. “If I have to buy formula and that’s all I have money for, then I’ll live off cereal.”
One Fair Wage, co-founded by Jayaraman, is a nonprofit that advocates for an end to the federal sub-minimum wage for tipped workers. It recently launched an emergency relief fund that received 10,000 requests for assistance in the first 24 hours. According to Jayaraman, many are pleading for help to feed children and make rent. The entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s nonprofit, Humanity Forward, is also partnering with One Fair Wage to help struggling families.
John deBary is concerned that the people who need the most help are the ones least able to access it, and he encouraged community members to reach out to help. “[People] who may not have proficiency with the English language, who may not have access to the web, walk them through the resources that are available for assistance.” He added, “There are people who are very desperate.”
When the worst of the crisis is over and restaurants reopen, he believes there will be no going back to business as usual. “It’s not impossible, and it’s a matter of people being able to think about their role in making a just society.”
Six people have been shot in Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone in 10 days, prompting officials to look at dismantling it A 16-year-old is dead and a 14-year-old is in critical condition in the latest of a series of shootings inside Seattle’s self-proclaimed police-free zone, known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP/CHAZ).
Initially home to hundreds of sometimes peaceful protesters, in the last 10 days, four other people were shot in the area, including a 19-year-old man who was killed.
The violence has left some officials seriously questioning the safety of the encampment and looking to take steps to dismantle it.
Officers said in a police blog that at about 3am on Monday, a white Jeep Cherokee SUV was reported near a Chop concrete barrier that surrounds the protest area. Several unidentified people then fired shots into the vehicle. “Two injured individuals, presumably the occupants of the Jeep”, were then taken to Harborview Trauma Center, according to the police blog.
One was transported by a private vehicle, while the other was taken by medics.
Police are investigating the shooting.
Chop, originally named the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or “CHAZ”, was founded about three weeks ago after a series of dangerous clashes between protesters and law enforcement during protests against police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
The clashes culminated in police abandoning their east precinct building in the area. A number of peaceful protesters filled the area with free food and community gardens, and held speeches, movie nights and teach-ins. Others assaulted, bullied, threatened, intimidated and even robbed journalists. Police were not allowed to accompany City medics to recover/rescue victims of gun battles prompting the medics to refuse to enter the barricaded zone.
Across the main road in the encampment, some people painted “Black Lives Matter” in large, colorful letters. But recently, with the barrage of nighttime gun violence, the numbers of demonstrators have dwindled dramatically.
During a press conference at the occupied zone on Monday, Carmen Best, the police chief, said the situation at Chop was “not safe for anybody” and said protesters should move out of the area.
“As an African American woman with uncles and brothers, I wouldn’t want them to be in this area,” she said. But Best did not provide additional details about when officials would begin dismantling the zone.
Jenny Durkan, Seattle’s mayor, had previously said during a meeting with protesters Friday that the concrete barricades surrounding the protest zone would be removed on Sunday, and those directly outside the police’s east precinct would be left, according to Converge Media, the only news organization allowed in the meeting. But no crews arrived Sunday to remove them, and as of 3pm Monday, the barricades were still up.
A large group of Seattle department of transportation crews had tried to remove the barriers early Friday morning, but were stopped by several people sitting or lying on the ground in front of the equipment. In recent days, some people at Chop have moved their tents away from Cal Anderson Park, so they are closer to the police precinct. But many still remain in the park.
Questions remain about how protesters will respond to the city attempting to remove barricades, and what will happen to those still in the park.
Hours after the shooting, an African American woman was reportedly pushed by the Fox News reporter Dan Springer, according to Derrick Drungo, an activist at Chop who witnessed the incident.
Drungo said Springer then got in his truck and protesters surrounded it, asking for an apology. One woman briefly climbed on top of the truck. Activists said the reporter’s personal security detail came out and tried to pepper spray them, and the group moved a concrete barrier in front of the truck to stop him from leaving. The reporter later got out of the car and another man with Fox tried to move the truck.
While driving very slowly, Drungo said the man hit him. “I got back in front of the car and the driver kept driving,” Drungo told the Guardian. “My hands were up in the air, and he hit me six times. I told him to stop,” He added.
In a statement, Nancy Harmeyer, the vice-president of domestic bureaus and the LA bureau chief at Fox News, said:
“While covering the news just outside of Seattle’s Chop zone this morning, a protester confronted Fox News Channel correspondent Dan Springer and his crew after overhearing him cancel a live report due to ‘filthy language’ in the background. The protester started yelling at him and threw a cup of coffee in his face and on his jacket.
Attempting to de-escalate the situation, the crew returned to their vehicle, which was then surrounded by protestors. Unable to drive away, the crew turned the car off and walked away from the scene.
At no point during the situation did the Fox News crew ever physically instigate or retaliate in any way against the protesters.”
In a tweet early Monday, Donald Trump said, “Seattle Looters, Agitators, Anarchists and ‘Protestors’, are now refusing to leave the ‘CHOP’ Zone. They have ZERO respect for Government, or the Mayor of Seattle or Governor of Washington State! Not good!”
Chief implores BLM supporters to stop the carnage, go home…says crime scene and murder evidence was tampered with, no suspects or arrests, cites refusals to cooperate with police investigation.
King5 possibly owns the copyright to this critical footage but the 4th estate cannot be trusted to preserve the record and make it irrevocably available to the public.
The Chief maintains poise and dignity almost effortlessly in the face of CHAZ denizens’ attempt to drown out her interview with the press–a class act all the way.
The 4th Estate has failed to report the details inn the following footage. The 5th estate has. Today, WE are the media!
Barricades being dismantled down in Seattle’s CHOP/CHAZ zone
Raw Gunshots & Tampered White Death Car w/2 Black Teen Victims
Why I left Antifa | Gabriel Nadales
“By their works ye shall know them.” -MATTHEW 7:20 KJV-
An apologist explains The Philosophy of Antifa
Original CHAZ/CHOP shooting Footage & Report 6/28-29
Street Demonstrators Record Police Violence,Targeted Reporters
A Quick History of ANTIFA, Its Genesis in Leon Trotsky
The communist movement known as Antifa (short for Anti-Fascist Action) has sparked violence across the nation. In the wake of their battling despicable white supremacist in Charlottesville, Antifa has begun to gain mainstream popularity.
But unbeknownst to much of the public, the vast majority of Antifa violence isn’t targeted at genuine fascists, but mainstream conservatives and civilians. With help from those who have encountered Antifa, including Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, Lauren Southern, Jack Posobiec, and Steve Deace, conservative author Trevor Loudon guides us through the history and ideas behind the Antifa movement, starting with Leon Trotsky and going all the way through the events in Berkeley, CA and Charlottesville, VA.
“Antifa” is the third episode in the “America Under Siege” documentary web-series from Dangerous Documentaries (a project of the Capital Research Center) and Cohesion Films. Each episode profiles the influence of radical Marxists on various segments of American society.
Jerrad Johnson 2 years ago says:
I’ve seen Antifa in person, I was at the battle of Berkeley. They throw explosives and bricks and glass bottles at us and called us nazis, just because we support free speech.
I’m a slightly left of center libertarian native-American who is married to a hispanic girl that is the daughter of a mexican immigrant. I adopted my wife’s 2 hispanic nephews because their mom is a crack head and CPS took them away. I couldn’t be further from a nazi by their identity politics standards yet they call me one for supporting free speech (including theirs ironically).
These people are animals, I assure you. This is a spot on documentary.
Tim Eyman (running for governor) was at the event.
reported by Rolf Boone
Olympia, WA. (6-27-20) — Social media was abuzz Saturday evening with chatter that comedian Sacha Baron Cohen made a surprise appearance during a conservative rally in downtown Olympia earlier in the day.
The rally, which was billed as “March for Our Rights 3,” took place at Heritage Park for most of the afternoon. About 500 people attended the rally, according to Washington State Patrol troopers at the scene.
Videos on Twitter appear to show a man in costume, similar to something Cohen might wear, singing a satirical song that poked fun at political beliefs.
Yelm City Councilman, James Blair, thinks it was the comedian, according to his own Facebook post.
“Sacha Baron Cohen pulled a bullshit stunt at the March For Our Rights 3 event,” Blair says in his post.
“He came on stage disguised as the lead singer of the last band, singing a bunch of racist, hateful, disgusting bullshit,” Blair writes. “His security blocked event organizers from getting him off the stage, or pulling power from the generator. After the crowd realized what he was saying, and turned on him, his security then rushed the stage and evacuated them to a waiting private ambulance that was contracted to be their escape transport.”
Blair could not be reached by email Saturday evening.
Three Magnets @3MagBrewing@SachaBaronCohen, thanks for what you did today! Free beer and food for you and your crew if you’re still in downtown Oly. Open until 9pm. Ask for Tasha and she’ll hook y’all up!
Cohen most recently is known for a cable TV show called, “Who is America?” That show, like a lot of Cohen’s humor, lures unsuspecting public figures into awkward situations. On the big screen, he is known for his “Borat” and “Bruno,” characters.
Despite the rumors of Cohen making an appearance, others attended the rally for more serious reasons, such as Alan Swinney of central Texas, who makes a point of going to such rallies.
He also had “proud boy” tattooed on one arm.
“I swore an oath to the Constitution,” he said, “and people’s constitutional rights get violated at conservative rallies. I just make sure that doesn’t happen.”
by Masha Gessen (June 24, 2020)
What’s so terrible about moral clarity? A future historian of June of 2020—a year that, historians have joked, will spawn narrow chronological specialties—will have to answer this question. The phrase has become central to a debate about the media and about the possibility of debate itself.
The journalist Wesley Lowery, who won a Pulitzer in 2016, for reporting on the systematic nature of police killings of black people, used the phrase in a tweet earlier this month; he was responding to a decision by the New York Times to run an opinion piece by Senator Tom Cotton that advocated the use of military force to quell protests against racism and police brutality. Lowery wrote, “American view-from-nowhere, ‘objectivity’-obsessed, both-sides journalism is a failed experiment. We need to fundamentally reset the norms of our field. The old way must go. We need to rebuild our industry as one that operates from a place of moral clarity.” Four days later, the Times’ media columnist, Ben Smith, picked up the tweet, cementing the oppositional pair: objectivity versus moral clarity, old white male journalists versus young journalists of color, tradition versus an unknown new world.
After Smith, Andrew Sullivan wrote a column for New York magazine under the headline “Is there still room for debate?” The notion that American society is systemically, foundationally racist is tantamount to a totalitarian ideology, according to Sullivan and others. (The Soviet-born Izabella Tabarovsky made the same argument in a piece for Tablet.) Sullivan leads with a reference to Václav Havel’s essay “The Power of the Powerless,” a classic of totalitarianism literature and a piece I have used extensively in my own work. Sullivan seems to think that this is an essay about the use of tanks and terror to enforce compliance with totalitarian opinion. In fact, as its title indicates, it’s an essay about the surprising power of noncompliance, of refusing to “live within the lie,” in Havel’s words.
In what Havel calls “post-totalitarian” society, and in what I would call late-stage-totalitarian society—a society that remembers state terror but no longer uses it—people obey the rules out of habit. Havel conjures the hypothetical character of a greengrocer who puts a Communist sign in his store window, as everyone does:
People ignore his slogan, but they do so because such slogans are also found in other shop windows, on lampposts, bulletin boards, in apartment windows, and on buildings; they are everywhere, in fact. They form part of the panorama of everyday life. . . . The greengrocer and the office worker have both adapted to the conditions in which they live, but in doing so, they help to create those conditions. They do what is done, what is to be done, what must be done, but at the same time—by that very token—they confirm that it must be done in fact. They conform to a particular requirement and in so doing they themselves perpetuate that requirement.
The greengrocer, under totalitarianism, doesn’t and can’t have an opinion; the putting up of the sign doesn’t appear to be subject to debate. But, Havel argues, if the greengrocer were to take the sign down, or not put it up, he would claim a kind of power that is distinct from the regime’s and will never be equal to it but nonetheless constitutes a threat to it: the power of the powerless.
To compare the changing of the ideological tide in the United States to totalitarian ideology is to fail to take account of the power differential. Totalitarian ideology had the power of the state behind it. The enforcers of totalitarian ideology—be they Central Committee members, Writers’ Union leaders, or the distributors of store-window signs—had the power of state institutions behind them. Protesters in the streets of American cities and the journalists who support them are not backed by state or institutional power, but just the opposite: in every instance, they are in confrontation with it. One of the questions they are asking is, How does a vastly powerful institution such as the Times use its power? Does it amplify the state in its most brutal expression, as it did in publishing the Tom Cotton piece? Or does it raise up voices that have been marginalized throughout history? If the paper opts to do both, should it try to compensate for the power imbalance, and give the marginalized voices more room and the state less? In his own Op-Ed for the Times, Lowery talks about black journalists, historically few and powerless, raising their own voices in the newsroom. Here a comparison to the greengrocer may finally be appropriate: black journalists within mainstream publications are finally suggesting that they should have a say in how journalism is practiced.
In making editorial decisions, the Times defines what it sees as the sphere of legitimate controversy, a term coined by the historian Daniel Hallin to describe what news outlets find suitable to publish. Until recently, ideas such as defunding or abolishing the police fell outside the sphere of legitimate controversy—in Hallin’s terminology, they fell into the sphere of deviance, which meant that the papers did not amplify or even acknowledge them. But the idea of using the military to crush protests used to seem deviant, too. American mainstream media are actively redrawing the boundaries of the sphere of legitimate controversy, and the location of that boundary is, itself, a subject of legitimate controversy.
So what is moral clarity? The philosopher Susan Neiman, who wrote a book on the subject, says that it is not, in fact, a statically defined concept: it can be found only on a case-by-case basis. “Moral clarity, however, is about looking at each particular case, looking at all the facts, looking at all the context, and working out your answers,” she stated in a lecture. It should not be confused with moral simplicity: we may have clearly defined moral values, but the quest for the actual position of moral clarity is always complicated and specific to the circumstances. For Lowery, moral clarity is, he wrote, “first and foremost, about objective facts. Nazis are bad—objective fact. Black lives matter—objective fact. Climate change is real—objective fact. President Trump is a liar—objective fact.” In his Times Op-Ed, Lowery added that moral clarity involves naming what we observe without resorting to euphemisms, which includes labelling the President a racist. Moral clarity can also describe the journalist’s own position in relationship to the subject matter. “So often the questions that get the best/most insightful answers are posed from a place of moral clarity,” Lowery tweeted. “Questioning someone powerful from a place of ‘neutrality’ often, in practice, results in journalism that is inappropriately soft in its framing.”
Klickitat County Sheriff Defies Governor Inslee’s COVID-19 Orders
[Where do the limits of individual rights begin & end in a nation of 360 million with a COVID-19 infection rate among the highest in the world and no end in sight? The Klickitat County Sheriff argues the U.S. Constitution defines those limits. But does it?Our U.S. Supreme Court justices have opined the Constitution is not the repository or definition of human rights, but rather a definition dedicated to the limits of government. Clarifying, they observed, the rights of the people are as innumerable as the stars in the heavens. Or, as John F. Kennedy said during his inaugural address to Congress, the rights of man do not flow from the largesse of government, but are endowed upon us by our Creator. i.e. We are born with them! They are inseparable and inalienable from the human condition . We need not ask/plead for what is rightfully ours. We can (and should) TAKE it, for we will lose those rights we do not exercise.HOWEVER, we are not entitled to gratuitously risk the lives of others in the face of a common enemy such as COVID-19, a flood, hurricane, war, earthquake, or other disaster/calamity. We owe each other respect for the right of each individual to the pursuit of happiness and, indeed, life itself. Thus, the Klickitat County Sheriff errs when he fatuously wraps himself in the Constitution at the expense of those natural rights derived from a higher law. And, in the words of our more radical Declaration of Independence, they are truths which we hold are “self evident”!]
In other words, moral clarity is a quest, guided by clear values and informed by facts and context, and clearly aligned with the original concept of journalistic objectivity. In the early twentieth century, some visionary reformers of American journalism imagined that reporting could strive to emulate science, with every article an experiment of sorts: the writer could lay out all of his evidence and the circumstances under which it was collected before drawing his conclusion—or, better yet, letting readers draw their own. Like a scientific paper, a news article could be written in such a way that if someone else decided to replicate the experiment—go to all the same places and ask all the same people the same questions that the original author did—he would likely draw the same conclusions.
Over time, the assumptions underpinning the ideal of journalistic objectivity faded away. Conventions in approach and tone took over. Objectivity in journalism came to mean presenting both sides of an argument from a position of neutrality. But not every argument has two sides: some have more, and some statements should not be the subject of argument. There cannot be arguments about facts. Whether disinfectant should be used to treat the coronavirus, for example, cannot be portrayed as a matter of debate; we do not argue about whether murder should be allowed, unless we are talking about murder committed by the state.
Just a few years ago, the question of whether couples of the same sex should have the right to marry was up for discussion. Today, there would probably be an outcry if the Times decided to stage a pro-and-con debate on the issue, because the Supreme Court has ruled that marriage is a constitutionally protected right and because public opinion has shifted. Whether Americans should have access to universal, taxpayer-funded health care is currently subject to debate; with any luck, in ten years, it will not be.
Essentially, Sullivan and other opinion writers decrying what they see as a new orthodoxy are arguing that everything should be subject to debate, that the sphere of legitimate controversy ought to be boundless. Part of the bedrock of this argument is the absolute belief in the value of debate unto itself. This is where the spectre of totalitarianism appears. These writers fear that what they see as an emerging new political consensus challenges the primacy of traditional liberal values that should never be debated: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other individual rights.
Sullivan identifies what he sees as the core beliefs of the new consensus: that “America is systemically racist, and a white-supremacist project from the start,” and that “all the ideals about individual liberty, religious freedom, limited government, and the equality of all human beings were always a falsehood to cover for and justify and entrench the enslavement of human beings under the fiction of race. . . . The liberal system is itself a form of white supremacy—which is why racial inequality endures and why liberalism’s core values and institutions cannot be reformed and can only be dismantled.” He sees this reading of history as reductive and a rejection of America’s aspiration for justice and equality.
“This view of the world certainly has ‘moral clarity,’ ” Sullivan wrote. “What it lacks is moral complexity. No country can be so reduced to one single prism and damned because of it.” At the same time, no country should be seen solely through the prism of its achievements. He seems willing to allow a discussion of racism as an amendment, perhaps a footnote, to the narrative of America as a nation of freedom and justice. But he rejects the idea that this society’s sins are great enough to warrant a reappraisal of its entire character. If the story of the United States is told primarily as one of a nation of immigrants, the story of a society that, over time, enfranchised an ever great number of its members, and where the arc of history has bent toward justice, then the legacy of slavery and the apparently intractable nature of structural racism is obscured. Indeed, the heroic narrative of America is part of why structural racism is so immovable. But Sullivan and others don’t appear to see two competing historical narratives; rather, they see a challenge not to a story but to the truth, an eternal certainty, a natural state of things that the protests are threatening to destroy.
This is not only a shortsighted view but also an outdated one. Donald Trump has already dislodged the story of this country as a nation of immigrants on an inexorable path toward justice and equality, guaranteed by a commitment to individual liberties. For future historians of June, 2020, here is my hypothesis: the reason we seem to be witnessing the emergence of a new political consensus is that the old consensus had already withered. The new story, being shaped right now, is neither dogmatic nor simplistic. It is, however, based on a different set of assumptions than the old story—and this is a good thing, and a necessary thing, as is moral clarity.
Seattle (6-18-20) —
Yesterday I was detained for streaming in the #Seattle free zone (#CHAZ / #CHOP)
“This is not a public park anymore, this is CHOP zone”
“There is no media allowed in here” Grabs me by my jacket and backpack from behind choking me
“Who’s going to help you?”
[Thugomania on steroids?]
First off, I’ve been streaming for weeks around Seattle and in the free zone. https://twitch.tv/shawngui People know me and know that I don’t intend anyone any harm. I’ve enjoyed the majority of my experiences w people in the zone. The problem is, when you do have a bad experience like this one, its very clear you’re totally on your own. There was no volunteer CHOP security nearby. When I called out for help it only drew more people to me that were just as interested in holding me until their demands for me to stop my stream and delete my footage were met.
After I deleted the footage the guy loomed over me and walked / escorted me out of the park and into another part of the CHOP where people were speaking on a stage. He told me this was approved for filming and then left. The entire walk over to the stage he was continuing to reinforce that if he saw me again in the tents area he was going to break all of my equipment and beat the shit out of me and that no one would do anything about it because this was something between us / that I had to listen to him about regardless of anyone else. [If anyone can ID the thug, please leave all the particulars in a comment and his face, if possible. The tattoos should be a clue.]
I reported this encounter to the CHOP volunteer security once I was able to find them. They told me I should use de-escalation techniques next time or just stay away from that area. I asked them where I could reliably find CHOP security and they said at the barricades or just floating around diff places. I asked them how I could ID someone as security and they said ‘we have walkie talkies’. There was also disagreement on if there was a security HQ somewhere or if it existed or not. Coordination seemed poor at best.
I had been told by people previously not to film people’s faces in this area so I was doing my best to avoid pointing my camera at people near to me. I didn’t see a problem filming the tents themselves with downtown Seattle in the background to give my viewers a sense of where the free zone is relative to the rest of the city. That’s when someone approached me and told me not to even film the tents.
I tried to tell this person that I didn’t think that was the policy. Everyone had only been saying not to film faces, and even though it is a public space / park I was fine doing that for people. Also it should be noted that the livestream video quality, covid masks, the movement of the camera, and other factors make it near impossible to identify people anyway–Unless I’m right next to them, in which case I almost always ask permission before showing someone on the livestream.
You can see the interaction I have with the individual in the video. He got increasingly upset with me as I asked more questions and started threatening me and my streaming equipment. When I tried to leave he grabbed my backpack and the back of the motorcycle jacket I was wearing from behind so that I wasn’t able to turn around or move. I say ‘ouch’ in the video because the jacket pinched my neck when he grabbed it and pulled against my throat in the front choking me a bit.
Both the jacket and backpack were firmly locked to me so I wasn’t going anywhere. The individual was larger than I was by a good deal so I didn’t think fighting my way free was a good idea, especially given he had already threatened to grab or smash my stuff. I yelled out for help hoping that someone else would come over seeing this guy detaining me and tell him to back off. Instead another individual or two came over and backed him up, telling me to delete my video / livestream if I wanted to be released.
I was badly scared for my safety at this point so I did what they said. I killed my stream and hit delete on the video save option. Luckily someone else was re-streaming me at the time here: https://youtu.be/Oj-S2v3X3hU (This channel’s attribution of my stream is actually pretty bad so while I do thank them for saving this incident I wish they would do a better job).
Instead they put their watermark on my experience, don’t show its not their footage in the title, and don’t link to my accounts anywhere in their description. I was streaming here at the time: https://www.twitch.tv/shawngui
The guy restraining me and another person or two who had gathered around me looked over my shoulder while I navigated my phone to delete the livestream. They then made me swear that it was deleted (which it was). At that point a women came up behind them and said ‘he did it, let him go’, which seemed to calm them down a little bit.
I don’t know what might have happened if she didn’t step in and say that to them. At that point the individual released me but stayed right on top of me, bearing down on me and saying he was going to escort me out of the park and into the street where I was ‘allowed’ to film according to him.
During this walk he continually threatened to ‘fuck me up’ or beat me if he saw me again near the tents. He also mentioned that he was going to break all of my phones / streaming gear as well. He took me to the baseball field via 11th ave and told me to film some people speaking on a stage in the park. ‘That is what you are allowed to film’ were his approximate words.
Then he turned around and went back to his tent. I was pretty shaken by the experience. He made it very clear to me over and over that he had a problem with me directly and if I didn’t listen to him ‘for my own safety’ that he or his group were going to beat the shit out of me and there’s nothing anyone would do about it.
I went to the CHOP ‘security’ / volunteers after this incident but they didn’t seem to think it was worth investigating. They suggested I try de-escalation techniques next time or stay away from that area. Later in the night I did speak with a ‘security team’ member who seemed to take my report seriously and they said they would look into it. I asked the CHOP ‘security team’ where I could find them if I had a future issue and the answer was either ‘near the barriers’ at the edge of the zone, or ‘we float around, you can find us because we have walkie talkies on’.
There was no security outpost or tent where you could reliably find security. #CHAZ#CHOP#Seattle#Protest
Summer of Love in Seattle’s Crack Heroin Amphetamine Zone:
Police were refused entrance, thus the Medics per SOP would not enter.
Crack Heroin Amphetamine Zone:
Night Life in Seattle’s Swinging Hot Spot:
Update: 2nd CHAZ Gunfight
Video by ShawnGui Seattle, WA (6-21-20) —
A citizen journalist embedded with ~150 BLM demonstrators from but outside the CHAZ spends almost 4 hours video recording their march, making sympathetic pronouncements endearing himself to the protestors while live streaming the footage which included blocking I-5, gathering outside the west side Seattle PD precinct to demand the defunding of the police, blocking traffic during the lengthy march, discouraging one of their male members from overturning trash cans in to the street, and returning to the CHAZ amid rumors a gun battle/gunshots were in progress–all while being led in chants by a Black man & woman w/a bullhorn.
As our guileless young reporter makes inquiries about the reports of gunfire, it erupts around him while he’s attempting to reach his vehicle to return home…forcing him to run for cover but tripping, badly scraping his hand, before reaching the relative safety of a cement block barricade. He sees many of the protestors he’d accompanied earlier as they cursed the police fleeing for their lives and scurrying for cover.
A Black thug pretexting to be CHAZ ‘security’ accosts our hero and robs him of his I-phone live streaming the footage excerpted here.
The thief inadvertently allows the cell phone to continue live streaming–even recording his face until he meets a green masked white thug with an AR-15 strapped across his chest. They clearly resent anyone recording what goes down in the CHAZ (Crack Heroin Amphetamine Zone) and express concern someone is STILL live streaming the incident until they realize it is themselves and figure out how to shut it off.
Viewers may notice no mainstream media is present–because journalists have been threatened, bullied, harassed and assaulted to discourage them.
Shortly before the footage seen here, the green masked white dude with the AR-15, while investigating the gunshots near the CHAZ limits, was warned by private security outside it in no uncertain tones not to venture outside the zone onto the streets with the AR-15. Apparently the green masked man thought better of it because he later appears in this footage in one piece.
by G. Halek
PORTLAND, OREGON (2-13-17) — Prosecutors successfully argued before Multnomah County Circuit Judge Thomas Ryan that concealed carrier and independent videographer-journalist Michael Aaron Strickland, 37, did not have reasonable fear of his own life when he pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and attempted to withdraw from a Black Lives Matter and Don’t Shoot Portland demonstration.
According to Oregon Live, Strickland was found guilty of 10 counts of unlawful use of a weapon, 10 counts of menacing, and second-degree disorderly conduct. Sentencing for Strickland’s trial begins in May.
This case had plenty of video evidence. Strickland, himself a videographer, had recorded parts of the incident in which he was surrounded by members of two organizations and allegedly pushed around and given express threats to harm his life.
At one point, he drew his handgun and told those blocking his exit to “get back!”
No shots were fired and he did not resist Portland police when they arrested him. He was legally licensed to carry a handgun.
We’re not lawyers but I picked out a law that the prosecutors likely used to dismantle Strickland’s case.
2015 ORS 161.219¹
Limitations on use of deadly physical force in defense of a personNotwithstanding the provisions of ORS 161.209 (Use of physical force in defense of a person), a person is not justified in using deadly physical force upon another person unless the person reasonably believes that the other person is:
(1) Committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person; or
(2) Committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling; or
(3) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person. [1971 c.743 §23]
In order for Strickland to walk away from this scene, the prosecutors needed to prove there was no chance anyone in either crowd of protesters was about to commit a felony involving physical force against Strickland.
Apparently, they convinced the judge.
Before we hear the arguments about he never should have been there to begin with, let’s also consider that Strickland’s occupation may require him to cover active demonstrations. There is no legal reason why he can’t be at those demonstrations so long as he is not provoking the crowd or otherwise violating the law.
Oregon also has a weird interpretation of its legal definition of use of force or deadly force.
According to ORS 161.209,
“…a person is justified in using physical force upon another person for self-defense or to defend a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force, and the person may use a degree of force which the person reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. [1971 c.743 §22]”
This type of wording is horrible for law. What one man believes is completely reasonable, another may find to be unsuitable.
Strickland is getting hamstrung.
Even if he manages to avoid serious prison time — which doesn’t appear to be the case — he’s never going to be able to legally possess firearms again.
That’s an exceptional loss for covering a news story.
News reports suggest that Strickland was being called names, pushed around, and probably had a reasonable degree of fear for his well-being. None of those things, though, stood up to the prosecuting team’s arguments that he overreacted and used excessive force.
This is something concealed carriers REALLY need to become aware of — especially as we head into more tumultuous and ridiculous times.
Get good legal counsel — first and always.
Know the state’s law in regards to justified use of force. Get a lawyer to explain it to you if you can’t understand how it’s written — preferably before you run into a situation where you need to know. That’s not me calling anyone dumb. State laws are legitimately hard to read sometimes.
As sad as it is to say, Strickland is going to get comfy in Oregon’s state prison system. As concealed carriers, we can EASILY avoid a similar fate by simply knowing the law. The law is what we are tried upon. Regardless of our own personal ideas of how we feel society should operate, all of that means nothing when you’re standing before a judge. The judge doesn’t care. Your family certainly will.
But if you feel I missed something pivotal in this case, please do tell us in the comments below. We’re opening this up for debate because, to be honest, perhaps I missed something that would change my opinion. Make your arguments below and keep carrying concealed.
(Finally Unsealed Video)
Michael Strickland himself here. Here is a multi angle video that I put together with commentary to explain what had happened.
From OFF Oregon Firearms Federation:
By now many of you know that Mike Strickland, a pro-gun, freelance journalist was convicted of 21 counts of self defense on Friday, Feb.10. Strickland had been attacked by a mob in Portland while covering a “Black Lives Matter” protest. The attack was planned and coordinated in advance. You can read more about it here. Victoria Taft has done an outstanding job of documenting the attack and the trial and you can see that here.
In truth, Mike was convicted the moment he was arrested by Portland Police for defending himself against the same kind of mobsters who have trashed Portland repeatedly. Their criminal actions are rarely punished by a county “Justice System ” that encourages rioting and looting but creates political prisoners of people who attempt to defend themselves from criminal attack.
From the moment he was arraigned it was clear the fix was in. As soon as the D.A.’s office in Multnomah County realized who Mike was, they began to assure he would never get a fair trial. And they succeeded. Mike’s bail was set at an astonishing and unprecedented quarter of a million dollars!
The D.A.’s office made open and absurd accusations about him to the press. They said he was a “white nationalist” and a “racist.” All of it was lies. But what would you expect from a county whose D.A. is a rabid advocate for gun restrictions? D.A. Rod Underhill has testified in favor of gun control bills in Salem and is a proud member of an anti-gun prosecutor’s organization.
Multnomah County is also home to Judge Kenneth Walker who said (in open court) “If I could I would take all the guns in America, put them on big barges and go dump them in the ocean. Nobody would have a gun. Not police, not security, not anybody. We should eliminate all of them.” All complaints about Walker’s clear bias against the Constitutions of the United States and Oregon were dismissed. Oregon’s Commission on Judicial Fitness found nothing wrong with Walker’s outburst.
When it came time to seat a jury it became clear very quickly that the chances of getting impartial jurists in Multnomah County were almost zero. Only two of the potential jurors believed it was ok to have a firearm for self protection. Both would be eliminated by the prosecutors. Michael’s lawyers made the decision to dispense with the jury and opted for a bench trial. They understood their only hope was a fair and honest judge. They hoped for too much.
As the trial proceeded, everyone: Michael, his lawyers, and supporters in the courtroom were optimistic and confident. The prosecution witnesses either admitted their criminal plans or were quickly proven to be liars. There is even video of the perpetrators physically assaulting Michael, from his own camera. That video has been ordered SEALED by the very judge who presided over the trial and will likely never be seen by the public.
Everything seemed to be going Mike’s way. But, after all, this is Multnomah County, the county that says your car and your front porch are “public places.” The county that rewards rioters and elects child molesters.
On Thursday, it appeared the trial was over. A use of force expert had testified that Michael’s actions were reasonable. Everyone was sure that Michael would prevail. Then the Multnomah County D.A. announced that they were going to have another surprise witness on Friday to testify that Mike’s use of “force” was criminal. The observers, and Mike’s lawyers were stunned by this last minute ambush witness.
Keep in mind that Mike’s “criminal” actions consisted solely of drawing a lawfully possessed firearm in the face of a mob of armed attackers and backing away without ever placing his finger on the trigger.
The ambush witness was Ryan Rasmussen, a Gresham cop who was not at the scene of the attack but agreed (for reasons yet to be determined) to come in at the 11th hour and testify that drawing your gun in the face of an attacking mob is not “reasonable.” Rasmussen testified that all of the training that he had received and that he teaches centers solely around law enforcement or military, and that none of it applies to civilians. He even testified that police are held to a higher standard than civilians.
Within a minute of the closing arguments, after Rasmussen finished his attacks on Strickland, Judge Thomas Ryan found him guilty on all 21 counts. Mike, his lawyers, and supporters were astonished.
Keep in mind, in Oregon there is no duty to retreat from attackers. But the D.A. and their hired gun witness said Michael’s behavior was criminal because he did not run away. In fact, multiple videos of the event show very, very clearly that Strickland was making every attempt to back away. Michael has had knee issues in the past and has trouble running. Add to that he was weighed down by his backpack full of computer and camera equipment, as well as the tripod with his camera on it. It would have been impossible for him to run away, as he would surely have been tackled behind by the mob.
Incredibly, the DA attacked Mike because, after he felt he was safely away from his attackers, he holstered his gun.
A Portland Police Sgt. who was part of the squad that arrested Michael told us he thought everything Mike did was correct. But none of that mattered. Strickland’s long history ofexposing the hypocrisy and tyranny of the left in Oregon meant he had to be made an example of. They had the power to silence him and chill anyone else who dared shine a light on them and they used it.
This case is about so much more than Mike. If this conviction stands, self defense in Multnomah County, and soon all of Oregon, will be a dead issue. The prosecution attacked Mike because he had backup ammo! They attacked him because he did not “run away” when in fact he did. They told lies about him to taint the jury pool and build up hatred for him in the press. Who among us is next?
If ever there was a clear cut case of self defense, this was it. But a leftist, activist judge in a leftist county decided to ignore the facts and the law and condemn Mike for doing what any rational person in his position would have done.
Multnomah County has sent a message loud and clear. If you riot, attack people and destroy property, you will be protected. If you try to defend yourself from criminals, you will be convicted and jailed. It is simple insanity. What Judge Ryan and D.A. Underhill have said is this. “If you come to Multnomah County and a gang of thugs attacks you, lie down and take the beating. If you are not killed, you will be better off than if you defend yourself and we get ahold of you.”
Because of many generous donors, OFF was able to contribute generously to Mike’s defense. Now we have no choice but to appeal. If we don’t, no one is safe and a precedent has been set for the rest of the state. Politically motivated judges and D.A.’s can ignore the law with impunity. We will sink into anarchy.
Hello, Michael Strickland himself here. Just wanted to offer some clarification.
I was trying to flee. Immediately upon the attack initiating, I started backing away. I was backing up the block for 40 seconds while the mob continued to pursue and accost me. Trying to flee did not deter them. I issued verbal commands, that didn’t deter them. I employed a non lethal option (my monopod), and that did not deter them. Finally they started to converge upon me from multiple angles again, and that was the decisive moment when I knew I had to draw, or get flattened into the pavement and be robbed of my camera and computer gear.
Furthermore, Oregon is a defacto Stand Your Ground. While not codified, it is case law, State v Sandoval, where the state Supreme Court ruled that there is no duty to retreat.
EPILOGUE: Michael Stricland Loses Mens Rea Appeal
State (OR) v. Strickland
The Oregon Appellate Court decided Michael’s broken arm incurred during an attack in the course of his filming in public on a previous unrelated occasion wasn’t relevant to his self defense argument raised at trial, preferring instead to interpret abstractions while applying them to weasel words such as ‘reasonable’.
Michael Strickland is a conservative blogger for the Progressives Today blog and shares video on his YouTube channel called “LaughingAtLiberals”.
Whiteness History Month
At Portland Community College (PCC)’s Whiteness History Month in April 2016, Strickland attended several events to produce film for his YouTube channel LaughingAtLiberals. A PCC spokeswoman said he was routinely “pushing buttons” and posting heavily edited videos about the events.
Race and Sexual Orientation Based Harassment
Law enforcement say that Strickland has a past police report alleging “possibly race-based threats” against an attendee at a Portland vigil for the victims of last month’s nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. Strickland, who also participated in Portland State University’s PSU for Trump group, was alleged to have participated in online harassment campaigns against lesbian and transgender students and also filmed and mocked students and activists along with PSU for Trump members.
Don’t Shoot Portland rally gun incident
At a Black Lives Matter rally in Portland, Oregon, on 7 July 2016, Strickland pulled a Glock 26 pistol and pointed it at protesters, including an undercover police officer. Portland police reported that Strickland’s pistol was equipped with “an extremely large magazine” and had a round in the chamber. The police also reported Strickland was carrying five extra magazines for the pistol, all loaded. Strickland claims he was surrounded by several anarchist protesters who pushed and shoved him, and that he feared for his life.
Portland’s police chief, Mike Marshman, said Strickland’s actions at the rally were “fully unacceptable”, stating, “I’m very, very proud of the members of the Police Bureau who cautiously and safely enabled the protest to continue on. That’s how it should be. To the men and women of the Police Bureau, please continue to do what you do.”
Portland police arrested Strickland at the scene, charging him with menacing and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. Law enforcement officials then processed Strickland through the Multnomah County Detention Center and released Strickland on his own recognizance. The next day the state added two additional charges of unlawful use of a firearm, a class C felony. At Strickland’s arraignment, the judge set bail at $250,000, with Strickland being released after posting the required bail on July 18. A Multnomah County district attorney sought the high bail amount partly based on alleged race-based threats, including harassing texts and phone calls, reportedly made by Strickland at a previous 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting vigil.
In response to the incident and based on his activities on campuses, Portland State University banned Strickland from its campus for two years, and Portland Community College indefinitely banned Strickland from its campus.
On February 10, 2017, Strickland was found guilty of all 21 counts: 10 counts of unlawful use of a weapon, 10 counts of menacing, and one count of disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to 40 days in jail, 240 hours of community service, banned from taking video of people or events for at least 2017, and is also banned from owning guns. During the hearing the court discussed finding in a pre-sentence investigation that Strickland had Autistic tendencies or Aspergers.
On April 1, 2020, Michael Strickland’s conviction was affirmed by the Oregon Court of Appeal which rejected the arguments of Strickland, noting that the facts of the case were undisputed.
Wearing a suit and tie, conservative blogger Michael Strickland sat silently at the desk of Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, during the short speech inside the statehouse on Thursday, March 21.
“He acted in self defense but was treated like a criminal,” Thatcher told her colleagues. “Free speech is free speech. We as a body should honor the Constitution’s explicit protections set aside for that.”
Thatcher specifically spotlighted Strickland’s treatment during a recent guest lecture organized by the College Republicans club at Portland State University. The Tuesday, March 5 encounter inside the student union building was derailed by a counter-protester who stood in front of a projector while ceaselessly ringing a cowbell.
Video of the incident lit up conservative corners of the internet with questions about why a PSU campus police officer stood by idly and didn’t intervene during the hour-long disruption. (The university later released a statement saying the guard “used his professional judgment” in order to not “escalate a potentially unsafe situation.”)
Fox News host Laura Ingraham went on to label the viral occasion as another example of conservatives being “deprived” of their free speech rights on campus.
Strickland’s criminal conviction is currently being tested by the Oregon Appeals Court, who heard oral arguments in October of last year regarding the guilty verdict for 21 counts of felony unlawful use of a weapon, menacing and second-degree disorderly conduct during a bench trial in 2017.
Strickland’s attorney, L.A. lawyer Robert Barnes, says appellate courts affirm trial court outcomes about 80 to 90 percent of the time.
“This case boils down to can you defend yourself? Can you assert your Second Amendment right to assert and protect your First Amendment rights? And will the State of Oregon recognize someone’s personal life experience or will they reward the Black Bloc of Portland again?” Barnes said after the appeals hearing Oct. 12.
Strickland maintains he was threatened by a crowd of anti-fascists who were advancing on him, while prosecutors pointed out that no one was touching Strickland during the encounter and he had space to run away.
Court documents from the time say the then 36-year-old was standing outside the Justice Center when he unholstered a Glock and held it at chest level while pointing it “in a sweeping motion” across the crowd for four or five seconds.
Police later found he was carrying a pocket knife and five extra magazines of ammunition. The handgun was equipped with “an extremely large magazine” and had one round in the chamber.
Journalist Michael Strickland Speaks:
No, Michael–What the judges said was the standard for a self defense argument wasn’t what YOU believed, but what a fictitious ‘reasonable’ person would believe in a split second crisis with life hanging in the balance. Such a person doesn’t exist except in the abstract world of judges who haven’t been butt fucked. Nor have they been mobbed–obviously.
They also appear to believe that fear was unreasonable because you had yet to be battered regardless of your prior real world experience and a multi-fracture broken arm arising from street photography which the justices hinted was illegitimate because it was surreptitious despite the fact such techniques are widely deployed by mainstream media and surveillance cameras. Essentially, the justices more than revealed their biases hostile to the 1st and 2nd Amendments. You’re a fool if you don’t appeal this to the federal courts on that basis. Oregon’s interpretation of the admissibility of a self defense argument as well as the 1st & 2nd Amendment is ‘unreasonable’. (The favorite weasel word of attorneys, prosecutors, and judges when they prefer to ignore common sense/the law.)
A look into the domestic terror organization ANTIFA and how it is attempting to take over the current peaceful protests of the George Floyd death.
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups” – George Carlin
So…could ANTIFA be the dirty tricksters of the 21st century? i.e. Agent provocateur supporters of Trump? It’s been done before–a false flag operation?
Atlanta police officer shoots unarmed man dead at a fast-food drive-thru:
Unarmed black man struggles to resist arrest, flees, and is shot dead by white cop
On 6.12.20, according to eye witnesses on the scene, another UNarmed black man was killed by police in Atlanta, GA at the Wendy’s on University Avenue & Pryor St. Activist struggles to express outrage under threat of Youtube censorship:
BLM protestors are tearing down Confederate symbols, flags, and war memorial statues across the South. The U.S. military has banned even bumper stickers bearing the Confederate battle flag on base, and hastened to rename those bases bearing the names of Confederate historical figures from the Civil War. NASCAR has banned Southern/Confederate symbols.
Members of the Mississippi legislature have moved to change the State’s flag in response to BLM protestors clamoring for the removal of the Stars and Bars from it. The symbol has come to represent the oppression of Black Americans in the minds of many due to its adoption by some White Supremacist hate groups. Still, we do not hear of Hawaii’s State flag being defaced because it includes the Union Jack–Great Britain’s flag who we were at war with at least 3 times in our history. (War of Independence, of 1812, and the pig war in the San Juans)
Not so long ago, our federal legislature passed a law making the burning of the American flag a felony. It was a wildly popular law with both the American public as well as Congress–only 3 representatives voted to oppose it…the recent Washington Governor Mike Lowry being among them. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down, nevertheless…5 to 4, I believe. Justice William Brennan wrote for a five-justice majority in holding that defendant Gregory Lee Johnson‘s act of flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Gregory Lee “Joey” Johnson, then a member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, participated in a political demonstration during the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, of the Reagan Administration and of certain companies based in Dallas. They marched through the streets, shouted chants, destroyed property, broke windows and threw trash, beer cans, soiled diapers and various other items, and held signs outside the offices of several companies. At one point, another demonstrator handed Johnson an American flag stolen from a flagpole outside one of the targeted buildings.
When the demonstrators reached Dallas City Hall, Johnson poured kerosene on the flag and set it on fire. During the burning of the flag, demonstrators shouted such phrases as, “America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you, you stand for plunder, you will go under,” and, “Reagan, Mondale, which will it be? Either one means World War III.” No one was hurt, but some witnesses to the flag burning said they were extremely offended. A spectator, Daniel E. Walker, gathered the remains of the flags and buried them in the backyard of his home in Fort Worth.
Johnson was charged with violating the Texas law that prohibits vandalizing respected objects (desecration of a venerated object). He was convicted, sentenced to one year in prison, and fined $2,000. He appealed his conviction to the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas, but he lost this appeal. On appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals the court overturned his conviction, saying that the State could not punish Johnson for burning the flag because the First Amendment protects such activity as symbolic speech.
The court said, “Recognizing that the right to differ is the centerpiece of our First Amendment freedoms, a government cannot mandate by fiat a feeling of unity in its citizens. Therefore that very same government cannot carve out a symbol of unity and prescribe a set of approved messages to be associated with that symbol.” The court also concluded that the flag burning in this case did not cause or threaten to cause a breach of the peace.
Texas asked the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case. In 1989, the Court handed down its decision.
The opinion of the Court came down as a controversial 5–4 decision, with the majority opinion being authored by Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. and joined by Justices Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy. In addition to joining the majority opinion, Kennedy also authored a separate concurrence.
The Court first considered the question of whether the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protected non-speech acts, since Johnson was convicted of flag desecration rather than verbal communication, and, if so, whether Johnson’s burning of the flag constituted expressive conduct, which would permit him to invoke the First Amendment in challenging his conviction.
The First Amendment specifically disallows the abridgment of “speech,” but the court reiterated its long recognition that its protection does not end at the spoken or written word. This was concluded based on the 1931 case Stromberg v. California, which ruled the display of a red flag as speech, and the 1969 case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which ruled the wearing of a black armband as speech.
The Court rejected “the view that an apparently limitless variety of conduct can be labeled ‘speech’ whenever the person engaging in the conduct intends thereby to express an idea,” but acknowledged that conduct may be “sufficiently imbued with elements of communication to fall within the scope of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” In deciding whether particular conduct possesses sufficient communicative elements to bring the First Amendment into play, the court asked whether “an intent to convey a particularized message was present, and [whether] the likelihood was great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it.”
The Court found that, under the circumstances, Johnson’s burning of the flag “constituted expressive conduct, permitting him to invoke the First Amendment.” “Occurring as it did at the end of a demonstration coinciding with the Republican National Convention, the expressive, overtly political nature of the conduct was both intentional and overwhelmingly apparent.” The court concluded that, while “the government generally has a freer hand in restricting expressive conduct than it has in restricting the written or spoken word,” it may not “proscribe particular conduct because it has expressive elements.”
Texas had conceded, however, that Johnson’s conduct was expressive in nature. Thus, the key question considered by the Court was “whether Texas has asserted an interest in support of Johnson’s conviction that is unrelated to the suppression of expression.”
At oral argument, the state defended its statute on two grounds: first, that states had a compelling interest in preserving a venerated national symbol; and second, that the state had a compelling interest in preventing breaches of the peace.
As to the “breach of the peace” justification, however, the Court found that “no disturbance of the peace actually occurred or threatened to occur because of Johnson’s burning of the flag,” and Texas conceded as much. The Court rejected Texas’s claim that flag burning is punishable on the basis that it “tends to incite” breaches of the peace, citing the test from the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio that the state may only punish speech that would incite “imminent lawless action,” finding that flag burning does not always pose an imminent threat of lawless action. The Court noted that Texas already punished “breaches of the peace” directly.
Justice Kennedy wrote a concurrence with Brennan’s opinion Kennedy wrote:
For we are presented with a clear and simple statute to be judged against a pure command of the Constitution. The outcome can be laid at no door but ours. The hard fact is that sometimes we must make decisions we do not like. We make them because they are right, right in the sense that the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result. And so great is our commitment to the process that, except in the rare case, we do not pause to express distaste for the result, perhaps for fear of undermining a valued principle that dictates the decision. This is one of those rare cases. . . . Though symbols often are what we ourselves make of them, the flag is constant in expressing beliefs Americans share, beliefs in law and peace and that freedom which sustains the human spirit. The case here today forces recognition of the costs to which those beliefs commit us. It is poignant but fundamental that the flag protects those who hold it in contempt.
Brennan’s opinion for the court generated two dissents. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, joined by Justices Byron White and Sandra Day O’Connor, argued that the “unique position” of the flag “justifies a governmental prohibition against flag burning in the way respondent Johnson did here.” Rehnquist wrote:
The American flag, then, throughout more than 200 years of our history, has come to be the visible symbol embodying our Nation. It does not represent the views of any particular political party, and it does not represent any particular political philosophy. The flag is not simply another “idea” or “point of view” competing for recognition in the marketplace of ideas. Millions and millions of Americans regard it with an almost mystical reverence regardless of what sort of social, political, or philosophical beliefs they may have. I cannot agree that the First Amendment invalidates the Act of Congress, and the laws of 48 of the 50 States, which make criminal the public burning of the flag.
However, the Johnson majority found the lack of evidence for flag protection in the Constitution that necessitated the claim of “uniqueness” to counter indicate protection of the flag from free speech. They answered the “uniqueness” claim directly: “We have not recognized an exception to [bedrock First Amendment principles] even where our flag has been involved. … There is, moreover, no indication—either in the text of the Constitution or in our cases interpreting it—that a separate juridical category exists for the American flag alone…We decline, therefore, to create for the flag an exception to the joust of principles protected by the First Amendment.”
Rehnquist also argued that flag burning is “no essential part of any exposition of ideas” but rather “the equivalent of an inarticulate grunt or roar that, it seems fair to say, is most likely to be indulged in not to express any particular idea, but to antagonize others.” He goes on to say that he felt the statute in question was a reasonable restriction only on the manner in which Johnson’s idea was expressed, leaving Johnson with, “a full panoply of other symbols and every conceivable form of verbal expression to express his deep disapproval of national policy.” He quoted the 1984 Supreme Court decision in City Council of Los Angeles v. Taxpayers for Vincent, where the majority stated that “the First Amendment does not guarantee the right to employ every conceivable method of communication at all times and in all places.”
Justice John Paul Stevens also wrote a dissenting opinion. Stevens argued that the flag “is more than a proud symbol of the courage, the determination, and the gifts of nature that transformed 13 fledgling Colonies into a world power. It is a symbol of freedom, of equal opportunity, of religious tolerance, and of good will for other peoples who share our aspirations. . . . The value of the flag as a symbol cannot be measured.” Stevens therefore concluded, “The case has nothing to do with ‘disagreeable ideas.’ It involves disagreeable conduct that, in my opinion, diminishes the value of an important national asset,” and that Johnson was punished only for the means by which he expressed his opinion, not the opinion itself.
The Court’s decision invalidated laws in force in 48 of the 50 states. More than two decades later, the issue remained controversial, with polls suggesting that a majority of Americans still supported a ban on flag-burning. Congress did, however, pass a statute, the 1989 Flag Protection Act, making it a federal crime to desecrate the flag. In the 1990 Supreme Court case United States v. Eichman, that law was struck down by the same five person majority of justices as in Texas v. Johnson (in an opinion also written by Justice William Brennan). Since then, Congress has considered the Flag Desecration Amendment several times. The amendment usually passes the House of Representatives, but has always been defeated in the Senate. The most recent attempt occurred when S.J.Res.12 failed by one vote on June 27, 2006.
Yet the antebellum South continues to be seen as emblematic for the proposition of slavery and the root of the Civil War. Little heed is given by modern historians to the fact the South fired the opening shot of that war on Ft. Sumter, a federal island fort guarding a southern port.
What led to the outbreak of the bloodiest conflict in the history of North America?
A common explanation is that the Civil War was fought over the moral issue of slavery.
In fact, it was the economics of slavery and political control of that system that was central to the conflict.
A key issue was states’ rights.
The Southern states wanted to assert their authority over the federal government so they could abolish federal laws they didn’t support, especially laws interfering with the South’s right to keep slaves and take them wherever they wished.
Another factor was territorial expansion.
The South wished to take slavery into the western territories, while the North was largely committed to keeping them open to white labor alone.
Meanwhile, the newly formed Republican party, of whom many were strongly opposed to the westward expansion of slavery into new states, was gaining prominence.
The election of a Republican, Abraham Lincoln, as President in 1860 sealed the deal. His victory, without a single Southern electoral vote, was a clear signal to the Southern states that they had lost all influence.
Feeling excluded from the political system, they turned to the only alternative they believed was left to them: secession, a political decision that led directly to war.
Today, the Lincoln Memorial pays homage to a man reputed to be The Great Emancipator. If so, it was a long time in coming…1-1-1863 to be exact, when the Emancipation Declaration, intended to cripple the South militarily as much as advocate for human rights, was ordered. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln is known to have greeted Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, with “Well, if it isn’t the little lady who started the War!” Nor did the Proclamation ban slavery in the North, but in the South only.
On August 1862, Lincoln stated to Horace Greely: “If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”–hardly the words of a committed abolitionist.
The vast majority of Confederate soldiers were poor white farmers who did not own slaves or have designs to. They were, however, zealously loyal to their home states and families. The privations, maiming, and deaths they suffered defending these were of Biblical proportions. Shelby Foote, a venerable Southern historian tells the story of a Confederate foot soldier being interrogated by by his Union captors. “What are you fighting for anyway, Reb?” they demanded. “Because y’all are down here,” he drawled. That’s not a bad answer to a foreign invader.
So here we are today in the midst of emblems, symbols, semantics, and the thought police–either self appointed, or requisitioned. Even cameras or journalists in public venues are no longer politically correct among militant leftists despite their utility in revealing incidents like the Rodney King beating or death of George Floyd. One has to wonder whether Civil War reenactments will be next to face political opprobrium? Jeeze, people, they’re just fricking rags, not sacred relics!
Many symbols, memorials, statues, and hymns stir the emotions. The English conquerors once banned bagpipes in Scotland for that very reason. Those emotions and the inclination to express them are as sacred as any human rights can be. They are not to be censored, censured, banned, or prohibited by government, popular appeal, or private intimidation/bullying as they belong to each of us as part of the human condition, our inalienable natural rights. Anything less is unAmerican.
Some of us are familiar with the Battle Hymn Of The Republic. A sadder Civil War song was Come Rally Round The Flag, also known as the Battle Cry Of Freedom. But Southern soldiers had their own equally passionate version of this tune. Listen to it before dismissing Southern talismans as racist or oppressive. What freedoms we have must be regularly exercised if we are to preserve them. Or as Benjamin Franklin opined when asked by a woman as he exited the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, “Mr. Franklin, what have you brought us?” “A republic, Madam,” he replied, “if you can keep it!”
Perhaps one black American woman put it most aptly when asked what she thought of these Civil War reenactments, especially by Southern enthusiasts. “They can refight that war as often as they please,” she drawled, “Just as long as they remember: They lost!”
Lawyer spits on black teen during Wisconsin protest, kicks cop in groin
by Yaron Steinbuch, et ux (6-9-20)
A white lawyer in Wisconsin has been arrested for allegedly spitting on a black teen protester — and then again after she was caught in another video shoving a college student who had been writing protest messages in front of her home, according to a report.
In the first case, Stephanie Rapkin, 64, showed up at an anti-racism rally in Shorewood on Saturday, parking her car in the street to block the march, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
When demonstrators told her to move her vehicle, she spat on 17-year-old Eric Patrick Lucas III, who helped organize the event, according to the report.
She was booked into the Milwaukee County Jail on Sunday and faces charges of battery and disorderly
conduct, but community leaders have called for stronger action — including being disbarred and being hit with a hate crime charge.
Her bail was set at $950.
“I continue to be mentally and physically shaken. To be assaulted by an adult in my own community during a pandemic was traumatic,” Lucas said, the Journal Sentinel reported.
“Again and again, I am viewed not as a child but as a color,” he added.
Rapkin later was captured on cellphone video in an altercation with 21-year-old Ithaca College senior Joe Friedman, who had been writing protest messages in chalk on the sidewalk in front of her home, the paper reported.
“Be better than this” and “I spit on a child. How dare you!” Friedman wrote, among other messages, according to the outlet.
Shorewood resident Debra Brehmer on Sunday posted the footage of Rapkin confronting Friedman, her son, and several other people who had joined him.
Friedman, who was holding the camera, captured their argument over the spitting incident.
“You spit on a child,” he says.
“You people are so incredibly stupid, it isn’t funny,” Rapkin responds. “I spit on a man who attacked me.”
“He did not attack you. How did he attack you?” Friedman says.
She then storms over to Friedman, saying, “I said I was sorry, but when someone comes over to you like this” — and appears to shove the young man in the chest.
“I am explaining how it happened!” she says.
“You just put your hands on me,” Friedman says in response. “That is assault right there. Wow, I just got that on video, ma’am.”
“You are f—- bat—– crazy,” he adds as his mother says they will call the cops.
As she was being arrested in the incident, Rapkin allegedly kicked a cop in the groin, authorities said.
“The victim in today’s incident reported he was peacefully protesting on the sidewalk in front of suspect’s home, when the suspect came out and engaged in a verbal altercation with the protesters,” police said in a statement.
“The victim reported the suspect then slapped both of her hands on the victim’s chest and physically pushed him,” they added.
Police are pursuing charges of battery, disorderly conduct, battery to a law enforcement officer and resisting/obstructing an officer.
Michael Maistelman, an election law attorney, has filed a complaint with the state Office of Lawyer Regulation asking it to investigate Rapkin for possible professional misconduct, the newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Shorewood schools chief Bryan Davis denounced Rapkin’s behavior and praised Lucas and the other protest organizers.
The incident “exposed the horrific, overt racism that still exists in our community” and was an “appalling display of racial hatred,” Davis told the Journal Sentinel.
He called on the Milwaukee County DA’s Office to also charge Rapkin with a hate crime because her behavior was more than just disorderly conduct — it was “racial hatred aimed at disrupting a peaceful demonstration.”
“If we, as Milwaukee County, are going to treat racism as the crisis it is, we must make sure that law enforcement and our criminal justice system look at these types of incidents through a racially motivated lens,” he said.
On Monday, Urszula Tempska, a neighbor of Rapkin’s, said she believes the attorney acted out of fear when she left her car in the street, not knowing her shopping route would put her in the path of a protest.
“I understand why everybody has decided that she is a conscious racist” and “jumped to the conclusion that she was there to stop the protest,” Tempska told the paper.
She said that based on conversations she has had with Rapkin over 15 years, she believes the suspect is “not a conscious racist.”
Stephanie Rapkin, esq. goes full Karen on Black BLM protestor:Black teen Eric Patrick Lucas III explains his reaction to Karen assault:Yet another racist bigot goes full Karen on a Filipino-American woman in a public park: